Exactly how far can you build a mosque from Ground Zero?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a shot at those criticizing the construction of a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero on Tuesday, asking rhetorically whether a new mosque could ever be built near the property that once held the World Trade Center.

“The question will then become how big should the no-mosque zone around the World Trade Center be?” Bloomberg told a Muslim-American audience at a dinner celebrating the breaking of the fast during Ramadan. “There is already a mosque four blocks away. Should it, too, be moved?”

While opponents argue that Bloomberg mischaracterized their arguments (no one is calling for the mosques already near Ground Zero to be shut down), it does raise the question of how far any new mosques would need to be from the site to avoid such a tremendous national uproar.

Many of the project’s prominent critics have said that Park51, the group heading up the site, is building the Muslim community center “too close” to Ground Zero. However, few of them have specified, (even when pressed), just how far away the mosque needs to be in order to receive their approval. Many of them oppose it on grounds that it is insensitive to the memory of those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But when asked to suggest a specific distance that the site needs to be from Ground Zero, few are willing to elaborate further.

Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, for instance, said last week that there should be a “zone of solemnity” around sites like Ground Zero, but did not specify how far such a zone should spread.

“I do believe that there are special places on Earth that should have a zone of solemnity around them,” he said last week. “I would strongly urge those who are thinking of putting a mosque within that zone to rethink their position.”

When asked for specifics, a spokesman from the Illinois governor’s office pointed to the August 20th press conference in which Quinn addressed the issue. While the governor did explain his reasoning during the briefing, he did not provide a precise distance. A request for a further explanation from the governor’s office went unanswered.

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said that he would approve of a mosque if it were near Central Park, which is just beyond four miles off the site. Likewise, former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has criticized the mosque’s position on grounds that it is “steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people.”

Additionally, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, simply said that Reid thinks the community center should “be built someplace else.”

So how many “steps away,” exactly, would a mosque need to be to avoid controversy?

It’s just not that simple, said Robert Spencer, author and editor of the website Jihad Watch, adding that it would be impossible to pin down an exact appropriate location for an Islamic center in the neighborhood.

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  • karl hungus

    I think Michael Bloomberg just surrendered New York City back to the british.

  • libertyatstake

    Well, since 4 blocks is the present distance … seems real easy to me … 4 blocks is the zone. Call it the New Policy of Containment.
    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • theprofessor

    is that it’s essentially the same as Rauf saying
    “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”

    You’re like a bulldog that won’t let go of a rotten, half-eaten, moldy bone.
    Anyone that has the ability think past the contents of two sentences would understand that what Beck said is the not the same as what Rauf said. Intelligent people, when reading quotes, have the ability to put them into the context of what was the speaker saying in the past, how does what he’s saying now compare to what was said in the past, is what the speaker saying being said with malice and what motive does the speaker have?

    Once you use those criteria on Beck’s quote, it suddenly becomes NOTHING like Rauf’s. But, only an intellectually honest poster would do that, so you don’t have that going for ya.

    • GonePostal

      Can you tell us the difference, then? I would like to know the context so I can judge who is being honest here and who isn’t.

      • truebearing

        There are some things no one can give you, and you need both: moral clarity and intelligence. The moral clarity can be improved by willing honesty. Trying to get moral clarity from loud Dog is like trying to squeeze orange juice out of a basketball.

      • theprofessor

        If you don’t know the difference between Glenn Beck’s beliefs and background and Iman Rauf you are either a total idiot or disingenuous, obtuse fool.

        Here’s a clue – don’t play dumb just to be obtuse. It’s not attractive.

        • loudog

          Yeah, don’t bother answering his question, just run away.

    • loudog

      Right after Rauf said those things the Bush State Department asked him to go on diplomatic missions to the middle east as a moderate voice of Islam. He was interviewed together with Glenn Beck and Beck acknowledged him as a moderate back then. In 2009 Laura Ingraham says to Daisy Khan, “I can’t find many people who really have a problem with it,” Ingraham says of the Cordoba project, adding at the end of the interview, “I like what you’re trying to do.”

      Flash forward to election season and now it’s a crisis. This is obviously about politics, obvious to most.

      • GonePostal

        Loudog, the folks here are not interested in listening to anything other than their own warped, preconceived notions. Nothing you say or post will sway them. The guy above you keeps saying your being intellectually dishonest, even though you’re the only one trying to debate. Good on you for trying, but “the Professor” and the rest don’t want to have their bigoted notions shattered by the truth.

        • loudog

          true statement

        • theprofessor

          Awww… isn’t that sweet..loudog has a buddy. Considering you’re a leftwing talking point, you’re really not in any position to decide if I’m “warped” with “preconceived notions”….or were you talking into your mirror?

      • des1

        Actually, you just quoted a lie. Laura Ingraham didn’t say that the mosque was a good idea, she agreed that assimilation was a good thing, which is what Rauf’s wife was claiming he was for. Of course that was before we found out that a former waiter bought the building with $5 million in cash, that Rauf thinks America is worse than Al Qaeda, that Shariah law should be enforced here, or that America’s policies are what caused 9/11.

        For Liberal idiots that believe that last one, please explain what Canada did to have the Muslim extremists try to bomb them last week.

      • theprofessor

        You are so daft. I’ve told you a dozen times, I don’t care WHAT Bush did with Rauf!!! Are you so frikken stupid you can’t read and remember? Bush isn’t president anymore. Rauf wasn’t building a mega-mosque at Ground Zero when Bush was President. Why would I base what I think by what Laura Ingraham says?

        Suddenly, you’re quoting Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham as gospel. How convenient.

  • theprofessor

    Well, folks, I think we’ve found the absolutely perfect example for “pot meet kettle” :


    Apparently Newt will say anything for attention.

    Read more: